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ODM rebels back Jubilee aspirant

By Patrick Beja | February 15th 2016

Five CORD rebel legislators have stepped up campaigns for Philip Charo, the Jubilee Alliance Party candidate, in the March 7 Malindi by-election.

The five – Mustafa Iddi (Kilifi South), Zainab Chidzuga (Kwale Woman Representative), Gideon Mung'aro (Kilifi North), Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga) and Mwalimu Mwahima (Kisauni) – have allied themselves to Jubilee, earning the wrath of CORD's principals.

They have renewed their campaigns following the decision taken by CORD affiliate parties to kick out MPs perceived to have betrayed the coalition from all parliamentary committees.

Some of the rebels have accused their party, Orange Democratic Movement, which is a member of CORD, of dictatorship by ousting them from National Assembly committees.

On Friday, Iddi and Chidzuga said they were not accorded any hearing before ODM made the decision to remove them from House committees.

Campaign team

On Saturday, Mr Mung'aro led several Jubilee MPs, including Nairobi Senator Gideon Mbuvi Sonko, in campaigning for Mr Charo at Shella in Malindi town.

Iddi and Chidzuga argued that they were campaigning for Charo as an individual, and not his political party, to protest what they claimed was the flawed nomination of ODM's Willy Mtengo.

"What the party did was undemocratic. I was elected to represent my people in Parliament and in committees and removing me from such committees amounts to denying them partial representation," Iddi protested.

The MP maintained he was still in ODM and had paid the Sh20,000 monthly subscription up to date and did not deserve to be frustrated by the party.

"ODM is perpetuating dictatorship which we are strongly opposed to. We are pushing for reforms in ODM and the party needs to listen to us. The party should accommodate divergent views," said the Kilifi South MP, claiming the so called 'ODM Coast rebels' were being pushed out by Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi and his Mombasa counterpart Hassan Ali Joho.

Arguing that changes always come through rebellion, Iddi said ODM should listen to them as they had genuine grievances over the leadership style of ODM in Coast.

Ms Chidzuga said she and other ODM MPs opposed to the Orange party threw their weight behind Charo in the Malindi by-election after controversial nomination, claiming Mr Sanga Barawa beat Mr Mtengo in the primaries but was denied the party ticket.

"We cannot be forced by ODM to support somebody we feel had lost in the party primaries. The nominations were flawed and we have decided to support an individual, and not a political party, in the Malindi by-election," said Chidzuga.

She claimed ODM applied dictatorship by cracking the whip without warning them or asking them to show cause why they were supporting a rival candidate.

She said they were never summoned by ODM prior to their suspension from the parliamentary teams.

"We are not happy with the decision the party took against us because it amounts to dictatorship. We are working with the Government to improve services to our people so as to enhance our chances of being elected in the next elections and we should not be intimidated," she said.

Chidzuga said by working with the Government, they were in a better position to lobby for more development projects to benefit the people and hence increase their chance to return to Parliament.

"Who will elect us back to Parliament if we have nothing to show in terms of development after our current tenure comes to an end?" she posed.

Mung'aro began supporting the Government after he was sacked as parliamentary chief whip and replaced by Wundanyi MP Thomas Mwadeghu.

The Malindi by-election was occasioned by the appointment of ODM MP and Mung'aro's close confidant Dan Kazungu as Mining Cabinet secretary last year.

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